Go ahead, make your water and crime jokes in the comments, but there's a wealth of fun and interesting things to do in Flint, despite what the trolls will have you believe.
Flint, Michigan will always hold an important place in American history. It was the birthplace of General Motors, and played a vital role in the creation of the U.A.W., which, in turn, played a vital role in building America's middle class for the next several decades. It's easy for us locals to forget about the rich history of the Vehicle City, much like it's easy for us to forget that there are some very cool sights to see right here in the 810.
While we may have less in the way of tourist attractions than we once did, there is still plenty to do, and plenty to see in Flint. TripAdvisor is a site that is in the business of tracking such things. They aggregate reviews and user ratings for everything from hotels and restaurants to parks and museums. If there's something to do in a city -- you can bet they'll have a pretty good snapshot of what people think about it.
TripAdvisor also ranks the top things to do in a city based on ratings and popularity. That made for an interesting and comprehensive list of things we might have forgotten about if we went off of memory alone. If you're too close to something -- it's hard to see the whole picture, so we let TripAdvisor do the heavy lifting in the following list of the "Top 10 Things to Do in Flint."
Click the name of each location to link to their website
Flint's Buick Automotive Gallery features upwards of 20 classic Buicks, Chevrolets, and other Flint-built automobiles. It is also home to Sloan Museum's Perry Archives, which features a huge collection of photographs and records that chronicle the history of people in Flint and Genesee County.
2016 marks the 100th anniversary for the beautiful former estate of Charles Stewart Mott. To celebrate the milestone, the grounds will have regular hours where they are open to the public through the Fall.
If you only know Stepping Stone Falls as "that place where I took my senior pictures," trust us when we say that a second visit is long overdue. The huge park is perfect for picnics, running, hiking, or walking. The Flint River Bike Path is also accessible from the picturesque location, and if you haven't seen the man-made falls illuminated at night -- you need to add it to your to do list.
From its 1980 start as a section of the Sloan Museum, the beloved local attraction continually grew to the point where it necessitated its own location, which was donated by Kettering University in 1993. The museum's hands-on, interactive exhibits will not only spark your child's imagination, but will also help to inspire a lifelong love of learning
At 129 seats, Longway is Michigan's largest planetarium, and offers a large array of unique viewing experiences. Their lineup frequently offers everything from the educational ('Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure') to the auditory ('Dark Side: The Light Show' set to the music of Pink Floyd's legendary 'Dark Side of the Moon').
The Sloan Museum is the destination for regional history, both auto-motive and non-auto, and hosts several unique events and seasonal exhibits, like the upcoming Titanic exhibit and the current 'A Bug's World' exhibit.
The Whiting has a 2,000+ seating capacity, making it one of Flint's largest performance venues. The theater brings an array of diverse musical, comedic, performance, and theatrical artists to the area, and also served as the backdrop for one of CNN's 2016 Democratic Presidential Debates between Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
The Flint Institute of Arts is the second largest art museum in Michigan, and features over 8,000 objects, some of which back to over 5,000 years ago. The FIA also serves as a full-time campus for over 1,700 students, and hosts a diverse lineup of special events and seasonal exhibits.
Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, the new Flint Farmers Market allows consumers to buy locally grown fruits, vegetables, and more. There are also a wealth of incredible local food vendors within the facility, which collectively serve up the most culturally-diverse menu of any one venue in Flint.
You'll be transported back to a simpler time as you step into Crossroads Village, which features more than 30 historic structures that mirrors life in the late 1800s to early 1900s, as do a number of attractions and shops on the grounds. You can also take a 40-minute ride on the Huckleberry Railroad aboard an authentic Bladwin steam locomotive, and a scenic cruise aboard the Genesee Belle Paddlewheel Riverboat. There are also several seasonal events, like a Day Out with Thomas, and many locals have made their beloved Christmas and Halloween events a part of their own, annual holiday traditions.
What Are Your Favorite Flint Attractions?
Obviously, there are a few glaring omissions from TripAdvisor's list, like The World Famous Machine Shop and Back to the Bricks, but we're wondering if there are a few other, low-key gems out there waiting to be discovered in the 810. Let us know what your favorite Flint spot is either in the comments below, on Facebook, or email your picks to firstname.lastname@example.org.